At Community Action, health and wellness is an important issue. We are dedicated to changing people’s lives and improving communities on all levels—from the macro to the micro. In the past, we’ve hosted community conversations, we offer resources, and educational tools in all areas of health and wellness, which is why we wanted to talk about the importance of a healthy diet this week.
At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions about exercise and diet, so we thought it was a perfect time to check in with our readers and discuss ways to keep these pledges for a healthier diet going all year round.
The truth is, most Americans are not getting the proper vitamins and nutrients from their diet, but the good news is there are easy, affordable ways to tweak your diet and make sure you’re getting the five essential nutrients in the meals you eat.
Potassium supports normal blood pressure and promotes kidney health and function. Potassium also supports nerve function and, most importantly, helps your muscles contract, which can help with longevity and keeping folks active. The good news you can find high levels of potassium in all kinds of common foods: bananas, potatoes, broccoli, oranges, raisins, apricots, and cantaloupe.
Calcium is a mineral that is vital for bone health and promotes bone density in folks. Calcium is found in: cheese, yogurt, milk, and many types of beans and peas. You can also get calcium-fortified food like orange juice.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so it is also crucial in promoting bone health. The body naturally produces vitamin D from sunlight exposure, which is why it’s so important in Minnesota during the winter months to make up for a lack of sunlight with Vitamin D-rich food such as: fortified breakfast cereals, fortified yogurt and milk, eggs, and fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.
Magnesium is an often-overlooked nutrient, but this mineral aids muscle and nerve function, as well as helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Lack of magnesium in your diet can lead to a deficiency. Folks can find magnesium in nuts and seeds, whole grains, leafy vegetable (such as spinach), and legumes.
Iron is a mineral that helps support muscle metabolism and health connective tissue. Iron is also critical in the production of hemoglobin in your blood, which is the protein that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Some great sources of Iron include: red meat, turkey, chicken, and oysters. For those who have a vegetarian diet, you can find Iron in: broccoli, tofu, spinach, beans and peas, dried fruits, as well as enriched bread and pastas.
To learn more about the ways that Community Action promotes health and wellness, visit our Health and Wellness Resources page.